Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Drunk Injuns, Build an Indian for a Squaw

Where do I start? About 6 months ago I was approached by Cary "Carrot" Larouche about doing something with his wife's 2000 Indian Chief. " She wants a kind of Zero style thing". Second red flag for me. The first red flag was that the bike was an evo. Cary had already pulled most of the bike apart. I thought for a second and said " Well, it's really not my thing, but my buddy JD is a fan of Shinya's and is totally in to the goose neck deal. Let me talk to him and see if he is down for it" Red flag three. I generally work alone.

Before calling JD, Cary and I talked about money of course, and how to go about goose necking the bike. The easy and cheaper route was to just buy a frame from Zero. The more expensive, time consuming, but cooler route would be to chop up this HUGE, horrid softail frame and build one from scratch. I knew JD would be all over that.

Although JD and I have worked together on little projects here and there, JD helped out on Wil's hood rat, we never worked together consistently from start to finish. So, we were both a little apprehensive given our friendship and our general creative ideas. But, we both knew it would be a learning experience in more ways than one and with enough Jim Beam we would get through it. Plus, there was a bit of an omen knowing we both had Native Am. blood and we were building an Indian together. Ok, it's not really an Indian, but it is on paper so we went with it.

I asked JD if he was down, and with a "FUCK YEAH!" We hit the ground running.
We cut up the massive softail frame and we were only left with the motor and tranny mounts. JD made some drawings and we collaborated on the look, stretch and set up of the frame. JD mocked up the frame in the jig and we were off to the races. We settled on a border line radical single downtube, goose neck, wishbone kind of deal. We made the neck a tad shorter to machine a couple of nice brass inserts under the neck cups.

Once we had a chassis of sorts together, Karen came by and sat on the bike to try it on for size. We took that time to place the bars and pegs to her liking. We settled on a nutty two in to one exhaust. JD machined a chunck of brass to give us our "Dizzy" exhaust tip. RAD!

The handle bars were made from a series of bent pieces that we painfully made sure would sit perfect on the springer top clamp.

The gas tank we found at the El Camino swap meet. It's a 50's era Scout racing tank that we narrowed, tunneled and relocated the fill cap. At the swap, JD saw the tank and said the guy wanted too much money for it and he seemed miffed JD didn't know what it was. I told JD, "watch this". I walked over acting excited, " Hey man, what you asking for this Scout tank?". The guy's eyes lit up. " You are the only person today the knew what that was." I'm asking 150." he say. "Man, all I have is 60 bucks on me". He paused, smiled and said, " It's cool you knew what that was, it's yours." SCORE!

The fender is a late model sportster we trimmed a little and added a bead on the lip.

JD did all the leather work and paint.

Karen showing some love to JD.

All the aluminium parts are brushed and a few pieces, like this motor mount, were set finish chromed.

Karen gave JD this patch and wanted it incorporated in to the bag.

Happy Mother's Day!

Karen taking her first ride.

Anything that could be hand made on this bike, is hand made.
There were some trials and tribulations on this build to be sure, and it took a little longer than we had hoped, but at the end of the day seeing Karen's smile made it all worth it. The Two Drunken Injuns didn't scalp each other. JD is my brother from another mother.

Some more pics of Karen's Indian


  1. well done, Kimosabe

    now get on with that FL

  2. nice job. better buy another project to fill that lift.

  3. Shit thats a "Wish Neck Goose Bone Frame!"
    I can smell the soul from here!

    Right on!

  4. Awsome accomplishment--you go guys!

  5. Awesome bike. By chance saw it in person @Dice event a few days later.
    Any estimate of how much weight it lost in the process?
    I'll bet you recovered a LOTof the build cost by selling off excess parts!!

  6. David, thanks. Not sure the weight now, but I would guess in the 550-650lbs range. As far as selling the parts, I wish it worked that way. We used what we could off the old bike.

  7. Nice handlebars. Do you sell those? I can't find them on your site.

  8. David,

    They are one off, custom made bars.

  9. That is one original, beautiful bike. Love the color and leather bag.